British Abortion Rates Reach Record Levels, Pregnancy Rate Drops

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Abortion Rates Reach Record Levels, Pregnancy Rate Drops Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 25, 2005

London, England ( — Abortion rates in Britain have reach an all time high according to the Office for National Statistics. The number of abortions have been rising in England and Wales since the 1970s and the abortion rate reached a peak of 18.6 abortions per thousand women in March 2004, British officials say.

According to the agency, the number of abortions on women above the age of 30 has doubled from 1976 to 2003 — from 14,600 compared with 28,700. In that age range, 15.4 abortions occur per thousand women.

In 2003 there were 181,600 recorded abortions in England and Wales, compared with 175,900 in 2002. Thirty years ago the figure was around 100,000.

ONS chief medical statistician Peter Goldblatt told the Scotsman newspaper that the reason for the abortion increase could be that more U.K. women are becoming pregnant.

"The number of pregnancies leading to a live birth has risen more or less in line with the increase in the number of abortions," Goldblatt explained.

ONS reports that the rate of pregnancy fell from 42.8 per 1,000 teenagers in 2002 to 42.3 in 2003. The figure does not include all British women.

Goldblatt also told the Scotsman that higher rates could be due to increased technology — as ultrasound and other medical screening tests reveal physical or mental disabilities before birth.

"There are more and better tests and scans," he said. "The key point is at that age group it remains true that a number of those tests point to anomalies which may result in an abortion for medical reasons.

Abortion rates for teenagers are also up and at their second highest level ever of 28.1 per thousand women.

Ellie Turner, spokeswoman for the pro-life charity LIFE, was alarmed by the news.

"Despite the by-word of the abortion industry being ‘choice,; it is a sad reality that many of the women who underwent an abortion in this time sphere were offered extremely little choice, in being forced to choose between their career or education, and the life of their own baby in the womb," Turner explained.

"It is particularly tragic that abortions amongst the young and vulnerable have risen by such a shocking degree," Turner added.

A record 45.6 percent of teenage pregnancies ended in abortion in 2003.

A spokeswoman for Marie Stopes, a British abortion business, says the abortion rates are higher because more British women are "career-focused and are tending to get married later in life before they start families."

Anne Savoury of the Pro-Life Alliance in Wales, told the Trinity Mirror newspaper, "This is a sad reflection on society. People have so little respect for life — either their own or any other unborn person’s life."